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Olympic logo designer says he endured unbearable harassment


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He's playing the victim like Nonomura, the blubbing politician. He's just as irresponsible.

If he wants to clear his name, he should design a new, original logo and assign his part of the copyright to the disaster victims in Tohoku.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

man all these problems and they haventeven started building the stadium yet. Japan will be rushed to meet the deadline and the cost will blowout to finish everthing on time. seriously can anything get done in this country without some cultural political condititions attached!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

So in addition to a modern Beethoven (Mamoru Samuragochi),

Japan now boasts a modern Albrecht Dürer! Go on everybody, Google the name.

Cough, splutter, guffaw.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

this reminds me of the obokata incident in some ways. she also plagiarized some parts of her research and refused to admit that she did anything wrong, to this day. this guy should just admit that he "may" have seen the design somehow and copied parts of it. it sounds much more believable than his outright denial.

and this guy may as well look for a new job because no one will hire him or his firm ever again.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Ahh, poor diddums!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Kenjiro Sano said online taunts and what he claimed were inaccurate media reports had pushed him to “the limit of what humans can bear.

Dude welcome to the real world. "Limit".....he doesnt have the slightest idea of what the "limit" humans can bear.

Oh and it isnt just about the Belgium design either!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Considering this man's inclination to borrow liberally from other people's works, I get a feeling there'll be more allegations to surface down the line. What a charlatan. Obokata analogy is quite fitting. Will there be anyone gullible enough to commission any work to this guy from now on?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It's silly, looks like he also copied from other art in Tokyo let alone Belgium. Another poster linked to this and it was hilarious. He basically flipped one side with the red dot and called it a day. No one should feel sorry for a cheater.


There are better Japanese designs out there like the original sakura one and now the fan one either of which are enough for the public to get behind. This needs to end quickly. Lurching from one PR disaster to another and it's only 2015 is going to tire these poor oyajis out

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"This is funny because plagiarism and dishonesty is a huge part of Japanese culture. It happens all the time."

After this sort of statement, you should not moan when the Japanese lumps you together with all other gaijin.

But like a good hypocrite I bet you'll be first one to bleat about it!

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

The guy thinks he has "reached the limit of what human beings can bear"?? How typically arrogant this guy is. You should read the long statement on his homepage, which says this and a whole lot more about how he's the victim and is being wrongly harrassed (but apologizes), etc. What a scum bag. The guy OBVIOUSLY copied all of his work, so when it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck -- it's a duck. I hope every single work he does from here on is is scrutinized and he is called on ALL his plagiarism. He says the media are making a fool of him and his family? While bringing the family into it is low, he has no one but himself to blame. Period. Asbolultely ZERO pity for this guy.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Plagiarism or not - I was always of the opinion that this was a terrible logo design for the Tokyo Olympics. It looks more like a newspaper logo or some other corporate logo, and not what you might expect an Olympics-style logo to be.

Let's hope the new logo choice will be better.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

46 million yen for a plagiarized logo, which has now been ditched and sued for? I sure hope they find more productive ways to spend the rest of our taxes

Regarding the designer, if he really was a professional designer, he definitely wouldn't be this mess. There are ways designers can check for copyright or copying infringements. I think his constant denying of it is what caused the backlash against him. If he had just agreed to scrap it straight away and create a different logo, this wouldn't have been an issue..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This loser is guilty as charged! And he STILL cant really admit he did wrong, what a PUTZ!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If he's still complaining, he hasn't been sued enough

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The emblem is based around the letter “T”—for Tokyo, tomorrow and team—with a red circle said to represent

Shouldn't that be a 'bleating' heart? Liars always get caught out! He should remember this next time he decides to copy a design. Is the Olympic committee gonna request a refund from his agency too?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A lot of dislike for this bloke here, but it's possibly not so clear cut.

He's won an amazing amount of awards across the world, which suggests that he's genuinely very talented.

He's clearly not stupid enough to think he'd get away with straightforwardly ripping off the Belgian design. As a designer, he must be aware of the ease with which anything can be checked on the internet. I reckon he saw the Belgian design and recalled it unconsciously. Not a rare phenomenon among arty types, who tend to notice patterns that the rest of us miss. I'm a wordy type, and I'm sure I've quoted others thinking that I was being original.

And his claim that staff copied the beer promotion logos is fair enough. Again, I can't believe he could be stupid enough to get away with a straightforward copy of a fellow designer's work.

Or maybe I'm just naive. What the heck....

4 ( +8 / -4 )

This muppet was caught earlier plagiarizing as per an earlier JT post so we all need to cry that his plagiarizing again has hurt his feelings - so do it again on the international stage and it's all good? What a moron.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

First the Belgian designer was being unprofessional to have the audacity to complain about his work being copied and now the media go to Sano's office to cover a news story. When will people leave the poor guy alone?

Sano admitted in an interview that the name of his company, Mister Design, was "borrowed" from Mister Donut. Did he ever come up with something on his own?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The comments above seem to reinforce his point. It is art..come on, the whole industry is a total sham imo. Everyone is an expert or so it would seem.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"Again, I can't believe he could be stupid enough to get away with a straightforward copy of a fellow designer's work."

I also find it hard to believe that he deliberately copied the logo for the Olympics and thought he would get away with it.

Multiple discoveries occur without prior knowledge; it’s likely this was the case here, although JT “experts” always know better.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Apparently Mr Sano has also designed the logo for Williams Burgers, a brand new fast food chain opening up here soon.


2 ( +3 / -1 )

He's clearly not stupid enough to think he'd get away with straightforwardly ripping off

Of course he is. This is not only for the Belgian design that he is accused for plagiarism, he started before with even a more shameful rip off. One has to ask him how could he possibly think that nobody would notice it.


I reckon he saw the Belgian design and recalled it unconsciously. Not a rare phenomenon among arty types, who tend to notice patterns that the rest of us miss

Cone on, I don't think that desperately trying to protect this guy is doing you any honor. The excuse that somehow he unconsciously ripped off someone's work is totally ridiculous.

Or maybe I'm just naive. What the heck....

Humm, don't take it personally but maybe a little bit.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In other news, Sano complains about the blatant rip off of his first design, the wheel. "I designed the wheel" he said, "I'm taking the car manufacturers to court "

2 ( +2 / -0 )


I've got no particular interest in the bloke, ( literally forgotten his name ), but I'm right in that he's won all kinds of prizes (Wikipedia him) for his work and is clearly very clever.

So the question is : Why would he behave like a complete moron? or Is there something else going on?

Like I said, I don't know, but I don't see any need to rush to judge.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What does the 'L' stand for? A question as yet unanswered by him.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This may very well be the crime of the century. Great to see JT posters so involved and as always, keeping it real.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

When is he going to start blubbering like that politician guy and then get convicted for actually copying the work???

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I've been rather impressed with some of the suggestions displayed on an Auntie report about this -


It shows that we don't necessarily need to stoop to plagiarism to produce something like this.

As for this guy enduring unbearable harassment, he needs to learn to bear the unbearable, endure the unendurable... ^_-

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It wasn't nearly close enough to amount to plagiarism. The claims were ridiculous. Perhaps to the untrained eye they look copied, but neither were complex enough to warrant plagiarism claims.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

First of all I would like to say sorry to all who comments against this guy. Almost everyone comment against him that he copied someone else . Can anyone tell here from where creativity comes? It comes from the things we watch in everyday life. So same thing may be happen with that guy also. May be never seen that theatre logo before that's also possibility. It's same like that hen comes first or egg, wats the exact answer??

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

interun - perhaps the benefit of the doubt could be applied when comparing Debie's theatre logo to Sano's olympic logo - both utilize simplistic elemental forms.

But when comparing with the 2013 exhibition poster for famous graphic designer Jan Tschichold, the similarity is striking - particularly to Sano's original design which was tweeked a little it seems, after the closeness was noted by those in the quarters. Added to this, Sano had tweeted at the time that he had attended this exhibition, so he obviously saw the logo many many times.

Put all together - not a leg to stand on I'd say, to both the trained & untrained eye.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He doesn't deserve to be in business. Just to refresh the memory of the JT collective:


2 ( +3 / -1 )

This guy is either a complete liar or his creative process is totally flawed either way he is a complete hack of a "designer".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Limit of what humans can bear." Did he really say this? What an idiot. Poor kids in Afghanistan and kids even right here in Japan bear more than what this fool bears. Poor me victim. The only victim here are the tax payers and the people in Tohoku who should have all the money spent in rebuilding their lives instead of this circus Olympics.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The logo is awful anyway. there's no creative skill in putting together a few basic shapes. This guy is a disappointment of a graphic designer. Not condemning him for possible plagiarism but for being a bad designer.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kenjiro Sano needs to explain what happened.

Kenjiro is a talented designer, it would be a gross injustice to deny him that accolade. Kenjiro Sano as the Olympic logo designer in all respects took leave of his senses. Quit the 'aunt sally' routine and stand up and be counted. Then offer your genuine talents pro bono.....

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Albrecht Dürer had skill in abundance. The same cannot be said of this twerp and his team of brown-nosers

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I have zero sympathy for Sano. He should just shut-up and disappear. The Japanese Olympic organizer's response for ditching the logo is weak. They're only trying to save face. 1786 days until the opening ceremonies. Plenty of time for them to screw-up again.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Special method of Japan used to be Go To Amerika, look at a new product, observe how it works, never copy. Return to Japan and create a thing that works the same way. Japan Inc knew existence of copy right and also patent laws. But time changed. He could learn how to create his own art by using picture maker software to modify the logo as if new, now-a-days.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sano-san: Don't steal ideas from other people and claim them for yourself and you won't be harassed. Otherwise, suffer the consequences. End of story.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Surinder Singh

Design is design being original and using ones own thought process. Sure you could be influenced and inspired but plagiarism is plagiarism like you could be influenced to learn how to self pollinate please but you would have to learn from others.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's impossible to prove the logo was copied and it unlikely

A graphic designer will have looked at and studied millions of designs and images, it's impossible to remember them all.

It's a letter T, not al L. The Belgian design was like a Z. Is the Belgium logo actually well known?

I'd never heard of them.

As a design, it is jus tlike 100s of other fonts and T graphics.

I'd like to know how and where this controversy started from.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

don't be so harsh, human being made mistakes. it cost money to re-design the new logo, at least did not caused human life like some killers, easily used mental issue as an excuse, got out from jail and kill again. already huge punishment for the designer and his career.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Pictures of family members and other relatives had also been released online, he added."

That's not cool.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The logo should be least concern for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. After all, I don't really remember what were the logos of previous Olympic games in London, Beijing or Athens. Still, the logo should have been double checked for any potential copyright infringements.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I don't really remember what were the logos of previous Olympic games in London, Beijing or Athens.

Can't answer for the Beijing or Athens ones, but you're probably better off not remembering the London one. Some things are best left unremembered.

Of course, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. ARRRRRRGH!!!!

Actually, I'm not sure if they got as far as an actual copyright claim. I suppose it could go that far which, if successful, could make this whole affair even worse! The question would be who would actually end up stumping up the cash for all this? The Japanese taxpayer? Could be messy...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why are people so harsh, how can you prove he stole it, maybe its a coincidence people are so mean

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What does the 'L' stand for? A question as yet unanswered by him.

Tokyo 'Lympics, clearly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

hero77: Check for yourself... He more than likely didn't steal them but just has an extremely poor creative process.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Boo friggin hoo. Cry me a river.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It has been pointed out that the colour scheme of Mr. Sato's emblem resembles that of Hey Studio in Barcelona. Not only do the colours seem to be very similar, the logo was Japan related, contained the red round sun of Japan, and was another letter - this time a J - for a "Rebuild Jappon" emblem https://www.flickr.com/photos/17888345@N03/5663361905

As Luca says, we can see things and forget we have seen them.

Of those other things that netizens are suggesting Sano's office copied, this one http://gogotsu.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/001.jpg where in place of the same (□ above 小) part of the character for cool (涼), an uchiwa fan has been replaced by a sensu folding fan in Sano's office's design, strikes me as being difficult to arrive at by mistake but perhaps whoever it was in Sano's office that created it, simply had the same idea.

Someone has made a collection of more than 100 other Tokyo Olympic Emblem suggestions here http://togetter.com/li/863363 It includes two shrine gate influenced logos, which may (for all I know) have influenced my suggestion though I have no recollection seeing them。Perhaps I did and forgot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know enough about this situation to have an opinion, however echoing comments made by some others I can offer the following insight into the life of a creative person. Designers of visual designs are typically design junkies who consume an inordinate amount of visual information all the time. Often this material is somehow vaguely lodged in the subconscious without a specific visual record. Also in the visual arts it is almost impossible to create anything which is totally unique, totally original and which has no reference to anything else that ever existed. I honestly can't believe that any designer would deliberately copy another designers work, especially for such a high profile project like this and it is virtually impossible in the creative arts to invent anything which can't be demonstrated to be similar to something else if you search hard enough. My feeling is that those who choose to condemn this designer are being unduly harsh without much knowledge of creative processes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow. There are a lot of design critics out there. I'm amazed at how many of you are familiar with the process of designing logos, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the world of intellectual property is big money- so though the Belgium has no real claim it' s enough in today's world of social media to ruin one's career and even potentially get a settlement just to get the "the thing to go away"

unlike other searchable IP content - this is not an area that can be easily found - so i am unsure if any copyright search would have discovered the 2011 logo unless they go to the theatre in Liege

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a trademark, any logo would only apply to category it was assigned.

Who's spinning this?

Who on earth trolled around to find a local theatre in Belgium in order to create a spoiler?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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